Spring is here! It's the season of new beginnings, longer days, warmer weather, and regrowth after a long, cold winter. As spring begins to breathe new life into our world, Passover and Easter triumphantly join in reminding us that hope abounds and fresh starts are possible. While this year's holiday celebrations may look a little different due to the pandemic, we'll still be nourishing our families with love and good food.
Below we've rounded up a few treats - some traditional and some new - that you can prepare and enjoy during these feast days. This year it only seems appropriate to start off by revisiting a beloved favorite, and the perfect ending to many Americans' Easter meals: the Classic Carrot Cake. Did you know that this cake owes its origin partly to a different culture and a different time? See here for the background story about this cake's Jewish roots.
For the cake:
- 2½ cups (10.5 oz) Organic Einkorn Pancake & Baking Mix
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup (7 oz) packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup (5.5 oz) granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground ginger, allspice, nutmeg, or cloves
- 1¼ cups (10 oz) coconut oil (we prefer to substitute half the oil with butter, melted and cooled, for a less oily cake)
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- about 3 cups (6-8 medium/14 oz) lightly packed finely grated carrots
- 1 cup (4 oz) toasted and coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
- 2 cups (16 oz) cream cheese, softened
- 10 tbsp (1¼ sticks/6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 2½ tablespoons sour cream, or 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (optional)
- pinch salt
- 3 cups (12 oz) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- Marzipan carrots, crystallised carrots, or about 1 cup toasted coconut for garnish (optional)
Yield: Two 9-inch rounds, three 8-inch rounds, two 8-by 4-inch loaves, one 13- by 9-inch or 10-inch Bundt cake (12 to 16 servings) or 24 (2½-inch) cupcake tins.
For the cake:
- Position a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F for a convection oven). Grease and lightly flour two 9- by 1½-inch round pans, three 8- or 9- by 1½-inch round pans, two 8-by 4-inch loaf pans, one 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan, or one 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt or tube pan.
- Sift together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar. Beat in the oil and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture.
- Add the carrots and the nuts. It will be a rather loose batter.
- Pour into the prepared pans. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out nearly clean and the cake springs back when lightly touched, 30 to 40 minutes for 9-inch pans; 20 to 30 minutes for 8-inch pans; 45 to 55 minutes for a 13- by 9-inch pan; or about 1 hour for a Bundt pan or loaf pan. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove the cake to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least 1½ hours. Wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or the freezer for up to 3 months.
- for Cupcakes: Divide the batter between 24 (2½-inch) cupcake tins, filling no more than three-quarters full, and bake at 350°F (325°F for a convection oven), rotating the pans halfway through, for about 18 minutes.
For the frosting:
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla and, if using, lemon juice.
- Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth and of a spreading consistency, about 4 minutes.
- Spread the top and sides with the frosting. If desired, garnish with marzipan carrots or toasted coconut. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
- ½ bag (14 oz) Organic Spelt Chocolate Cake/Brownie Mix
- 10 tbl (5oz) salted or unsalted butter
- 1tbl molasses (opt)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 3-4 tbsp liqueur of choice – e.g. Frangelica, Kirsch, or zest of an orange
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- Butter and flour an 8-9" cake tin.Melt the butter over medium heat, take off the heat once butter has melted and allow to cool slightly, before adding the mix and the vanilla extract. Mix well.
- Gradually add the beaten eggs and mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and bake for 20-25 mins, or until the cakes are well risen and firm to the touch, but still soft enough that your finger leaves an impression on the cakes.
You can decorate cake with powdered sugar and little chocolate eggs for this Easter version, or with this optional glaze and assorted fresh edible flowers (such as pansies, violas, rose petals and violets) .
- 6 oz any dark (semisweet or bittersweet) chocolate, chopped coarsely
- 8 tablespoons (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into several chunks
- 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup)
- pinch salt (I use fine sea salt)
Place chocolate, butter, and honey in a stainless steel bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Using a silicon spatula stir frequently and gently (to prevent air bubbles) until almost completely melted. Taste and add salt if you like. Remove the glaze from the water and set aside to finish melting, stirring once or twice until glaze is perfectly smooth. Cool glaze, without stirring, until nearly set and the consistency of easily spreadable frosting. To glaze, pour all of the glaze on top of the cake and let it drizzle down the sides.
recipe adapted from: www.waitrose.com
Lemon Drizzle Friands
For the friands:
- 1½ sticks (6 oz) butter
- scant 1 cup (3.5 oz) Organic Einkorn Pancake & Baking Mix
- 1⅔ cup (8.75 oz) powdered sugar
- 1 cup (4.5 oz) ground almonds
- 6 egg white
- zest of 1 lemon
For the lemon icing:
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- scant 1⅔ cup (8 oz) powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F).
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan and use some of the butter to lightly grease the friand tin. Let the butter cool slightly for later in the recipe.
- Sift the flour and the powdered sugar into a large bowl, and stir through the ground almonds.
- Place the egg whites into another large bowl and whisk until they are white and frothy.
- Gently mix the frothy egg whites into the flour mixture.
- Add the melted butter and zest of one lemon, and stir everything together.
- Fill the friand tin with the batter until each hole is 2/3 full. Using an ice-cream scoop will help you to evenly divide the batter.
- Bake the friands in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until they are lightly golden and a skewer inserted in the middle of a friand comes out clean.
- Let the friands cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, zest and squeeze the juice from one lemon. Mix the powdered sugar together with enough lemon juice until you have a soft, runny consistency.
- Drizzle the lemon icing over each friand and garnish with some lemon zest.
recipe adapted from: littlebird.com
Blue Poppyseed Financiers
⅔ cup (2.75 oz) ground almonds
- generous ½ cup (2.5 oz) of Organic Einkorn Pancake & Baking Mix
- 5 egg whites, lightly whisked
- 1½ cup (6.5 oz) powdered sugar
- 10 tbl (5.33 oz) unsalted butter
- pinch fine salt
- zest of one lime or lemon
- 3 tbl (1 oz) blue poppyseeds
- 1 recipe light pink icing (below), optional
- additional blue poppyseeds for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 180C. Place the ground almonds, flour, icing sugar, baking powder, zest of limes or lemons and poppyseeds in a bowl and whisk until combined.
- Brown the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter solids turn a golden brown. Do not allow the solids to burn.
- Lightly whisk your egg whites.
- Add the butter, including all the browned bits, and the egg whites to the dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth.
- Spoon the mixture into 12 x 1/2-cup capacity lightly greased oval-shaped or muffin tins. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Using a palette knife, loosen the edges and remove the friands from the tins immediately. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.
- Ice, and garnish with more blue poppyseeds, if desired. Makes 12.
- 1⅔ cups (4 oz) powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoon milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)
- 1-2 drops of red food coloring in a small bowl
Dip the tip of a toothpick into the food coloring in the bowl, then swirl the tip of the toothpick through the icing.
recipe adapted from: littlebird.com